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By Hero of the Soviet Union ALEXEI MARESYEV

I met Boris Polevoi in the summer of 1943. Fierce
fighting* was raging in the Kursk Salient, and my regiment
was committed to the battle. We flew several missions
every day. One evening I returned from a mission tired,
hungry, with my thoughts on what I would order at the
canteen. As I climbed out of the cockpit I saw a stranger
with a group of airmen, who were pointing in my direc-
"What a bore. Another correspondent," I thought,
sighing and hurrying off to the canteen as fast as I could
make it.
The stranger quickly overtook me and introduced
himself saying: "I'm Boris Polevoi, Pravda war corres-
pondent." I remember seeing the name in Pravda but
for the life of me I could not recall what he wrote about.
However, I took an instant liking to him. He was quick,
impetuous and simple, and there was a smile in his eyes.
I invited him to my dugout and we sat talking for a long
time. Polevoi filled several notebooks, and still the ques-
tions came. Dawn was breaking when he was ready to
go. Before leaving he said: "I'll give this a write-up,
Alexei. Definitely. I can't say how exactly but I'll cer-
tainly write the story."
In the morning we were back in the thick of the battle.
One mission followed another, and I soon forgot about
the Pravda correspondent. To be more exact, I kept com-
ing across his name in the newspapers. And I liked the
people he wrote about. But these were meetings only on
the pages of newspapers.
One day in 1947, I don't remember the exact date, I
switched on the radio and heard the announcer ending
a broadcast with the words: "You can hear the next
instalment of Boris Polevoi's A Story About a Real Man
at nine o'clock tomorrow." In my mind's eye I at once